Having previously begun consulting on proposals for a new switching process for residential fixed voice and broadband customers in February 2021, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has now finalised plans in this area. In terms of the key elements of the regulator’s proposals – which have been out for consultation, with a 9 November deadline for submissions – it has confirmed that communications providers will be required to develop and operate a new ‘One Touch Switch’ process for all residential customers who switch fixed voice and broadband services.
According to Ofcom, this new process will replace the existing arrangements from April 2023, and notably it has specified that using One Touch Switch, all customers will be able to use a single process to move providers regardless of who their existing provider is or what technology or network their service provider uses. Meanwhile, the regulator has also decided to remove the rules relating to the existing ‘Notification of Transfer’ process, which some customers switching fixed voice and broadband services use to move providers on the Openreach and KCOM networks.
Alongside its plans for the fixed communications sector, meanwhile, Ofcom has also set out plans to improve the information that mobile network operators must give to customers who are considering switching their service. As per the proposals, a customer’s current provider will now also need to tell them about the impact of the switch on any other services they also have with that provider, including bundled products and specific services for disabled customers.
Ofcom has said it aims to publish a statement confirming changes to the ‘General Conditions of Entitlement’ – the regulatory rules that all British communications providers must follow in order to offer services – in early 2022, subject to considering the feedback it receives as part of this latest consultation.